WITCHFINDER GENERAL, Live ’83 (2006, Nuclear War Now! Productions)

The skull:
Simple white skull and white lettering on black background. As unadorned as it gets, except for the tiny nuances: fangs and flames burning in the eye sockets. Total horizontal egg as skullcap. Appropriately old-school looking for this ancient doom metal recording.

The music:
The first pressing of this live album was altered to make the songs sound slower than was actually the case. Or maybe it was a mistake. Regardless, listening to the truest version of this recording, it’s a raw but entirely listenable document of Witchfinder General at their peak. Most songs are represented from the band’s first two and only worthwhile albums, and it’s testament that they, along with Saint Vitus, Nemesis and Trouble, were among the most important doom bands to emerge from the early ’80s underground. Great band who apparently brought the goods live. Hilarious stage banter from vocalist Zeeb Parkes in the beginning of the 10-minute “Quietus”: “For anybody that likes real heavy rock, this is gonna be the number!” Uh, hey, thanks for letting us know. He should have also let us know about the too-long and too-boring unaccompanied guitar solo at the end.
— Friar Wagner

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